So I’ve been writing part of a hopefully upcoming novel where one of the characters, a former Navy SEAL and Hollywood armorer, builds a technical (if you don’t know what that is, think of a Toyota in Africa with a gun in the bed). Okay well, he’s asked to mount a machine gun to a small pickup truck. Easy enough; the guy can weld and has a bunch of gun parts lying around. The problem is that there is no proper machine gun to use.
On Twitter, I saw a discussion about a desire for technicals. While welding weapon mounts and bed rails so the gunner doesn’t go flying out isn’t hard, pieces of specialty machinery will be harder to come by in say a fictional world where an EMP just detonated like in one of my novels. Like my character and the average Twitter user, there are a few common problems.
First, buy what you can. Order that M60 gooseneck pintle or a MK 64 cradle mount. KNS sells a Picatinny rail adapter that can attach to quad rails or whatever. Are you going to make one yourself out of some steel and ball joints? Better order those carefully machined parts now while you can still go to specialty hardware stores or order online. If you are a fictional character who may have a future need for a machine gun mount, there is no harm in laying it by early. A vintage tripod might be a good collectable for the corner.
Next, buy the gun accessories. Are you adapting an AR-15 because everyone has like 12? Buy a spade grip adaptor, which seems uncomplicated enough to fabricate in a garage. Need taller sights to shoot when standing up? Buy those. Note that AR-15s are terrible sustained fire weapons. You’ll blow the gas tube after about 300 rounds of sustained fire, so you’ll need a quick change barrel adaptor, or like three, which will get expensive. Or an extreme duty gas tube. A heavy barrel is less of a concern than an exploding gas tube that will turn your rifle into a straight-pull single shot.
How is it going to fire fully automatically? Well, in my novel a 3D printed lightning link is used. The AR-style open bolt conversions, as used in the M231 firing port weapon, have a tendency to batter and walk out pins, I am told. Yes, in fiction I could have my character just fit a full-auto parts kit in as he did to some rifles, but like in reality, he didn’t have that many to begin with. You’ll probably have zero.
If you think you may capture a weapon, have your own ammo supply. There is no harm in buying linked 7.62mm or 5.56mm ammo to feed that ex-government M240 or whatever. You can always unlink it and shoot it or reuse the links. Buy tracers while you still can. If you’re shooting a machine gun, especially one from a vehicle, you’ll want it. Beta Mags and Magpul D60s could get banned too.
Here are some pictures of cool weapon shields. Note the attached pieces of pipe to route the empty cases into an ammo can. Anyhow, some fun ideas. Stay tuned for the what hope is another novel in my EMP series.
Author Don Shift
Don Shift is a veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office and avid fan of post-apocalyptic literature and film who has pushed a black and white for a mile or two. He is a student of disasters, history, and current events.